BLEA MOOR from RIBBLEHEAD

 


Summary

Date - 2nd August 2009 Distance - 9.25 miles. Ascent - 1550ft
Map - OL2 Start point - Ribblehead (SD 765793)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Blea Moor 1755 535 SD 7726 8258

 

Preface

Tetley came hurrying in, looking excited.

"What's going on?", enquired Shaun.

"Good news", he replied. "Dad has been talking to Uncle Bob, and they have arranged a walk together, for Sunday, and we are going to Yorkshire."

By now Allen had pricked his ears up, and said, "where?"

"From Ribblehead. to climb Blea Moor."

"Ooh great", chipped in Shaun. "Uncle Bob has done that before, so we will catch up."

"Roll on Sunday!", called out Little Eric.

 

The Walk

It is less than and hour from home to Ribblehead, so for once we did not have to be up too early. We arrived first and we sat patiently looking out for Uncle Bob, and we waved to him as he pulled in beside us. While Dad got his boots on etc, we settled ourselves in the rucksack ready for the off. Crossing the road, we then headed directly across the boggy ground. To the left were the massive arches of the viaduct backed by Whernside.

Although now known as Ribblehead Viaduct, it was originally called Batty Moss Viaduct. There are 24 arches, and in all it is 440 yards long and 165 feet high.

Behind us as the line continues south and just beyond the bridge carrying the railway over the road, is Ribblehead Station, here backed by the bulk of Park Fell. Since the line was saved from closure in 1989, this and all the other stations on the line have been completely renovated.

Oh, and yes the two cars on the left are Uncle Bob's and Dad's.

Well, we had better get on with the walk!

We soon reached this cave, its entrance bedecked with ferns and wild flowers.

We could have got in easily, but we did not know what would have faced us, and we did not want to get into difficulties, which might have resulted in the Cave Rescue team having to come out. So, we just looked from the outside.

Continuing over the rough ground, and contouring round, we descended to the main path by Blue Clay Ridge. Here we now took the path forking right and climbing up the fell.

Below this hill the railway runs through Bleamoor Tunnel. It was built between 1870 and 1875 and describes an arc within its length of 2,629 yards. There are three ventilation shafts, the first of which you can just see poking out behind one of the piles of spoil. These heaps are some of the materials excavated during its construction. It must have been extremely hard work without the aid of modern machinery. Steam powered hoists were used to remove the spoil and also lower the workers down to the excavations. We followed the clear path in the picture climbing up to the first of the ventilation shafts, where Uncle Bob posed for his picture.

The path climbs on up to reach a stile in the fence. Just before this we took a thin path over bog and peat hags to gain a ridge and come by the fence. Now on a clear path again we were soon at the trig point marking the Blea Moor summit.

As we leaped out of the rucksack, and settled by the trig point, Grizzly shouted "get the camera out and take our picture, Dad."

The visibility was good and there were fine views of the Three Peaks (Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside) as well as Simon Fell and Park Fell, and towards Dentdale and Garsdale. Here Dad poses by the trig point with Park Fell, Simon Fell and Ingleborough (most distant) behind.

Photograph courtesy Bob Woolley (Uncle Bob)

Returning along the fence the main path was gained, and we strolled along this descending to the third vent, from which smoke was issuing.

"I wonder what to make of that", said Allen.

"Well it can only be from a steam train", shouted Shaun as he had spotted it below as it crossed Dent Head Viaduct - a stirring sight too!

"Quick Dad, get a picture", called out Tetley.

We watched it as it progressed along, then crossing Arten Gill Viaduct and passing under Great Knoutberry Hill on its way to Dent Station. Some weeks later Dad and Uncle Brian went to visit Uncle Alec & Aunt Jan, and we went along too. Uncle Alec has for many years been a keen railway enthusiast, and he was able to tell us that the locomotive hauling the train was 46115 Scots Guardsman, on an excursion from York to Carlisle.

Well this excitement over, we now resumed our walk. We were leaving Blea Moor behind, as we descended to the forest boundary. A muddy path descended steeply down to come to the forest road. The path then continued ahead, but we ignored this, instead turning right on the forest road. This led to the motor road a little way above Dent Head Viaduct. Turned right up this road and soon reached the gate onto the bridleway. By the side of the road we passed these colourful thistles.

The bridleway was at times rather muddy as we tramped along this for over 2 miles through the rough terrain, to come to the house called Whinshaw. Here a tarmac road (the access track) took us to the main B6255 near Gearstones, and then on to the start at Ribblehead. It was a most enjoyable walk and for most of its length on paths that we had never walked before.

It was refreshment time now and Dad suggested going to Blindbeck Tea Room, just on the outskirts of Horton. There is an aura of calm and tranquillity in the front room of the house that is the cafe. It is old fashioned, but had quite a charm and Uncle Bob liked it. He had a toasted teacake with jam. Dad was a bit of a pig, having bacon, egg and beans (lovely) then a delicious scone with jam (well his excuse was that he would not have to get a meal ready when he got home). All was washed down with tea with extra hot water, of course. In all it was just £6.60, and excellent value! It was Dad's turn to treat Uncle Bob. Just as well with all the food he had had, we said. Now we went our separate ways. Thanks for your company Uncle Bob and for another great walk!

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